Wednesday, December 12, 2012

System Tests

Cyber-Operative (Derek Stevens)
We're going through the book and building characters. There's a lot of play-test in this thing already but there is literally no way to playtest everything that we've added. The closest I think we can come is:

  • Keep play-testing until (a) the chapters are finalized (close) and (b) the chapters are proof-read (starting on chapter 3 right now).
  • Create characters (and use the Simulator where applicable) doing a careful word-by-word read of the powers. If something seems off, fix it.
The creation of a character you do not intend to play is an interesting thing. For one thing, I'm overly "kind" to the game system when I'm not making a character I want to play: I'd rather soft-land the character rather than "exploit loopholes." Now, as it's my game, I'd rather there not be loopholes--but when I'm making a character I intend to play--and making him bad-ass, I will be far more interested in exactly how the rules will work than if I'm making "An NPC."

The person above was a semi-successful test: I wanted someone with the Science Agent Package who wore Power Armor (Cyber-Suit). I was afraid, going in, that this would be a failure. It wasn't: Although you don't see the results there, you, the point-totals more-or-less worked out. I'm slightly more iffy on the specific details.
I bet it's still unreadable
What you see up there is the list of powers and their general effects with some compilations off to the side. The take-away is this:
  • Her "karate punch" does around 12 PEN damage. Not a lot for a 48 AP character.
  • Her armor-level is 6 (under coat), +4 (Plate) with a bunch of extra PEN Defense and 32 ADP. Not bad.
  • Her Neo Adrenaline and Overdrive Glands (lots of extra REA, better dodges and blocks, etc.) kick in on Round 2 (and cost 5 REA).
Here's the big one: She is expected to carry a gun ... and not pay for it. How do I know that? Because that's how I envisioned things for "this game."

In the game I would play her--something a bit like a cyber-operative Doll House style scenario where she gets personality overwrites to go out and "do missions" (or whatever)--she would have a "standard gun" for whatever "the PCs get." Probably? An SMG.

She would use that--almost exclusively--over HTH combat--and her armor is fairly well constructed to go up against that kind of fire-power: she's probably at -4 to be hit with her +1 AGI Bonus, gets a great CON roll of a 14-, and the damage that does get through will tend to come off her suit's ADP first and then chip away at her DP while she's dodging most of the attacks (since she has an extra +3 REA for it).

I'd also give her a katana: I know my tropes.

In this world? She's great--this is a success. However, if I were expected to pay for the gun the same way I paid for the cyber-suit ... I'd be out of luck. 

Now, I didn't construct the character that way--I went in trying to make a fast, durable Science Agent with a Cyber Power-suit--but I'd be happier if her native attack stacked up better to her defenses. I would also like it if she had some negative Damage Mods (maybe with a Dodge?). I'd have to give her cyber-reflexes for that--and I didn't have the points--but that's life.

So is this a success? Yes--but I found an error (I hadn't put the +8 DP in the Cyber-Suit rules--and had to go add that in--and for two other Power Armor suits). So, you know, not perfect.


  1. Question for you, Marco.

    Given your comment on the gun, is the martial strike actually worth what you paid for it? Would it come up often enough to justify that price, given the gun will probably be doing not overly less damage (assuming the technology is such they're doing something a bit better than a conventional 9mm)?

    1. The karate strike is "worth it" in the absolute sense--that is, it's correct for the tested cost. In the "actual game" we could (a) assume I "paid for the gun" and then got the martial strike for 1/3rd the cost--which is within keeping of the rules but not exactly how I did things here or (b) just assume the gun and her hover-car and whatever are free (which is what I did assume).

      My experience with gunslingers is that it DOES pay to be able to fight hand-to-hand. While guns in JAGS are less deadly statistically than in real life (although only somewhat if you are dealing with absolutely normal people and using the near-instant-kill as your measure) they are deadly enough that you benefit from having HTH attacks.

      Also, having 2-dimensional combat strategy is just plain more fun than only being able to really shoot people.

      So, yes: I think it's worth it.